Tag Archives: stem

Philosophy as a STEM Subject

The acronym STEM, as everyone knows, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM subjects are math-intensive, analytic, and generally require a high intelligence to understand all the rules and intricacies. By this definition, the umbrella of subjects that could be considered ‘STEM’ or STEM-like could be expanded to include finance, economics, and even philosophy…I’ll leave it to the reader to find a catchy acronym.

Finance, which includes both personal finance and accounting, requires math, although the math tends to be simple – mostly arithmetic and compounding. There are also data visualizations involved, and the organization and interpretation of arrays of information such as spreadsheets and financial statements.

Economics, beginning in the the 50′s with Solow’s Growth Model and then in the 70′s with the theory of Rational Expectations and efficient vs. behavioral markets, has become very mathematical. Differential equations are a necessity, along with complicated diagrams and processing and analyzing an abundance of data. For example, there is Robert Barro, who used econometric methods to analyze data; John Cochrane, who pioneered time-series economics. Then there’s Paul Samuelson, a famous economist who used a lot of math to formulate his economic theories, adding significant rigor to the field of economics; Milton Friedman of the Chicago School and possibly the most famous economist of the 20th second half of the century, who used mathematical methods in the modeling of rational agents; Buchanan and the Calculus of Consent; Ronald Coase and his theorem…all economists who applied mathematics to economics subjects such as public choice, behavioral economics, rational markets, and decision making. More recently, physicists Lee Smolin and Eric Weinstein have begun applying concepts of gauge theory to macroeconomics.

Quantitative fiance is the most difficult and math-intensive of all fields of finance and economics, requiring a study of multi-variable partial differential equations, real analysis, measure spaces, martingale theory, and probability theory.

Online, especially since 2013 with the rise of ‘STEM culture’, finance, economics, philosophy, and quantitative finance carry the same prestige as the ‘hard’ STEM subjects such as physics, computer science, and math. Offline, no one cares you’re are an econometrician, but online you’re royalty. But even history majors, lit majors, comparative literature, and anthropology majors are also respected – subjects that, in contrast to useless ‘fluff’ degrees, are rigorous and intellectually redeeming even if they don’t pay as well as STEM. Also, finance, economics, and philosophy majors have as high of SAT scores (a good proxy for IQ) as math, computer science, and physics majors.

Then there’s philosophy, which I proclaim to be a STEM subject. Most people when they think of philology, the names Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and maybe Nietzsche, Hume, and Kant come to mind, not mathematicians. But modern math and science offers a way of reconciling, or at least shedding new light, on questions posed by philosophers centuries earlier. The work of Godel, Turing, and Cantor blur the lines between philosophy and mathematics. Not only has philosophy, like economics, has become more STEM-like in recent years, but online especially, over the past few years, I’ve also noticed an immense increase in interest in mathematical-philosophy.

Kant in his 1781 magnum opus Critique of Pure Reason argued there were limitations to knowledge beyond the empirical: ‘Kant’s arguments are designed to show the limitations of our knowledge. The Rationalists believed that we could possess metaphysical knowledge about God, souls, substance, and so forth; they believed such knowledge was transcendentally real. Kant argues, however, that we cannot have knowledge of the realm beyond the empirical.’

Fast-forward to the 20th century, when Godel and Church disproved Hilbert’s ‘Entscheidungs Problem‘, as described by Scott Aaronson, who himself often blurs the lines between philosophy and science, in his research on computer science and complexity-theory:

The Entscheidungsproblem was the dream, enunciated by David Hilbert in the 1920s, of designing a mechanical procedure to determine the truth or falsehood of any well-formed mathematical statement. According to the usual story, Hilbert’s dream was irrevocably destroyed by the workof Godel, Church, and Turing in the 1930s. First, the Incompleteness Theorem showed that no recursively-axiomatizable formal system can encode all and only the true mathematical statements. Second, Church’s and Turing’s results showed that, even if we settle for an incomplete system F,there is still no mechanical procedure to sort mathematical statements into the three categories “provable in F,” “disprovable in F,” and “undecidable in F.”

In layman’s terms, every proof of the consistency of arithmetic (specifically, Peano axioms) is incomplete (arithmetic cannot prove itself).

These proofs tenuously vindicates Kant’s ‘synthetic a priori’, that there there are limitations to what can be proved, and that abstractions and propositions (like ‘multiplication’ and ‘addition’) have no empirical antecedent (a priori knowledge) and are ‘synthetic’ not ‘analytic’.

Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ernst Zermelo, Alan Turing, Alfred Tarski, and Georg Cantor are other examples of mathematicians whose results had philosophical implications.

The P versus NP problem may is also relevant in understanding the limitations of what cam be proved under ‘reasonable’ conditions by a computer, specifically whether every problem whose solution can be quickly verified by a computer can also be quickly solved by a computer.

Related to existentialism, Robin Hanson’s Great Filter thought experiment could answer the Fermi Paradox, as to why alien life has not been observed despite the high probability that it should exist.

A significant area of philosophical inquiry involves the very concept of reality itself, whether reality is ‘real’ or ‘artificial’ (a computer simulation), the latter posited by Oxford Philosopher Nick Bostrom in his famous ‘Simulation Argument‘, which ‘proves’ there is a non-zero probability everyone is living in a simulation. In addition to the probabilistic argument, there is also the mathematics and logistics of creating the simulation itself, such as if enough resources exist for an advanced civilization to build a sufficiently powerful computer that can emulate the complexities of reality, or how such a computer or program would be created. Creationists argue that the structure of the universe is so fine-tuned (such as physical constants) that a ‘creator’ or ‘designer’ of sorts is involved, an argument that merges theology with neurology, biology, and physics.

Philosophy of mind – a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind and the brain (mind–body problem) – has reaches in computer science and artificial intelligence, specifically if a simulated mind is conscious, or if a sufficiency advanced artificial intelligence is a substitute for consciousness. Computational theory of mind is view that the human mind or the human brain (or both) is an information processing system and that thinking is a form of computing, a view endorsed by philosopher Daniel Dennett, who argues that artificial systems can have ‘intentionality’ and ‘understanding’. Philosopher John Searle, invoking a thought experiment he devised called the Chinese room, counters, arguing that while a computable mind may seem like it has ‘understanding’ to an outsider, it doesn’t. This is an example of how philosophy borrows from STEM subjects such as neurology and computer science.

Free will vs. determinism is an age-old philosophical debate that has attracted the attention of quantum physicists. If the universe is entirely deterministic, it may imply humans have no free will. Philosopher and cognitive scientist Sam Harriss rejects free will; Daniel Dennett endorses compatibilism, which mixes some free will with determinism. This also ties into quantum mechanics, in an article from Scientific American The Quantum Physics of Free Will:

More recently, quantum-gravity theorist and blogger Sabine Hossenfelder has offered some thoughts. In a 2012 paper, she suggests that there is a third way between determinism and randomness: what she calls “free-will functions,” whose outputs are fully determined but unpredictable. Only those who know the function know what will happen. This is distinct from deterministic chaos, in which the function is universally known but the initial conditions are imperfectly known.

There is also the ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics, to reconcile determinism and free will by postulating that every possible event or outcome resides in a discrete universe that doesn’t interact with other universes.

The demarcation problem, in the philosophy of science, is about how to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. Karl Popper argued that science, in contrast to pseudoscience, can be falsified. Russell’s teapot, is an analogy or thought experiment, coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others. It’s impossible for someone to disprove within reason (without checking every square inch of space) the existence of the teapot. This ties into string theory, because the concern is that it cannot be falsified by any existing technology or scientific method. String theory may ‘never be wrong’, since it can always be ‘modified’ when new evidence is introduced that challenges (such as the failure to discover supersymmetry) the theory. Concepts such as the ‘multiverse’ are also impossible to falsify. It doesn’t mean these concepts are not fruitful (in the mathematical sense) or possibly correct, but right now there are no ways to test them.

That’s enough examples. It’s obvious that philosophy has extended its tentacles to all STEM subjects. In many ways, STEM complements philosophy by filling gaps of knowledge, or by providing new perspectives or angles of inquiry on timeless questions.

The Esoteric Celebrity

Intellectualism, wealth, and the entanglement of the two has become the new nobility or religion in America today, with thousand – maybe millions – of disciples and acolytes following in the footsteps of our ennobled intellectual sainthood and priesthood. We aspire to be like them, to emulate their mannerisms because they are the new ‘ruling class’, in much same way the British fawn over the King and Queen, although our tech and intelligentsia nobility is much smarter and economically useful than Britain’s consanguineous nobility, who are figureheads that draw upon the commonwealth – literal welfare queens.[1]

This new nobility has given rise to affectations intended to signal intellectual-worth, which in our increasingly technological, winner-take-all economy has become inseparable from self-worth. We all want to be philosophers (or at least perceived as smart as one) as well as economists, scientists, and objectivists. I want to be a part of it, too. In post-2008 America, STEM and STEM-like subjects like philosophy and economics are more respected than ever in the marketplace (in terms of higher wages), online (as measured by shares, viralness, approbation), and in pop culture (as measured by appropriation), too.

The culture of intellectualism is evident and thriving in both the mainstream and esoteric. Complicated, esoteric articles by philosophers and scientists are always going viral whereas social justice articles can’t even get off the launchpad without the help of multi-million dollar media properties like Salon or The Atlantic.

For example, here is one such esoteric article that went viral, combining both philosophy and economics, and is further evidence we’re in a philosophy ‘boom’ both in the field of philosophy and on social media, where such articles readily go viral. Philosophy, as of 2008, has extended its tentacles over many fields as varied as economics, physics, exobiology, and computer science. I hereby nominate philosophy as a STEM field. While it may not pay as much or have as many immediate real-world applications as the hard sciences, it’s still intellectually demanding and has become an inseparable component of the STEM-patchwork.

And as further evidence of the rise of the esoteric celebrity, consider “The Duck” aka “@jokeocracy”, who infamously ‘martyred’ his account in protest of Twitter censorship and political correctness, sending reverberations throughout not only the ‘alt right’, but the far-reaches of the internet. He’s part NRx, part-STEM, part Red Pill…he embodies an aesthetic of coolness, erudition, and authenticity that few will ever achieve. In addition to the stock market, the marketplace of ideas is the only market that matters, and Duck, metaphorically speaking, is a ‘blue chip’ in that regard. His account is suspended indefinitely, but the memory and screenshots of his tweets will live on. [2]

Or consider Davis Aurini, a pioneer of neo masculinity, whose website Stares at the World, which covers philosophy, artificial intelligence, culture and men’s right’s, receives thousands of views, and although most people are not smart enough to appreciate his work, many do, and his Youtube channel has over 10,000 subscribers. Of course, he’s not a famous as Jenna Marbles, but he successfully carved out a niche of his own. And although makeup tutorials may seem low-brow, the women who make thousands of dollars with them typically are not.

For the mainstream, consider the rise of ‘selfie culture’ as a sign of intellectualism and individualism in rejection to pre-internet era leftist collectivism. Some call it narcissism, but it could also be about rejection, even if subconscious, of leftist ideals. Being a ‘rock star’ of yesteryear was a collective endeavor involving a multitude of parties – agents, managers, record labels, TV & radio stations, etc – but today’s ‘rock stars’ – internet celebrities, socialites, and other unconventional celebrities – are bucking the leftist pull of conformity and collectivism, striking ‘gold’ on their own terms and keeping almost all of the proceeds instead of splitting it up among dozens of middlemen that can be likened to tax collectors. As evidenced by the inexorable decline of union membership, for example, the economy more than ever is rewarding individualism over collectivism, and this shift is evident both in culture and economics.[3]

As part of how INTP/J people rule the world, this also ties in with employers, too, viewing ‘social skills’ and extraversion (collectivist traits) as crutches for the incompetent, instead deeming IQ, quantifiable results, and competence (individual traits) as more important, especially since 2008. Silicon Valley pioneered this results-orientated culture, with great success and prosperity, which has caught on to the rest of corporate America:

Silicon Valley is the center of the universe – a bastion of innovation, capital creation, risk taking, and an unassailable meritocracy where anyone, regardless of national origin, age, or professional status can become instantly rich through hard work and intellect. We’re witnessing a concentration of wealth for the top 1% of IQ, but stagnation for everyone else. This trend will continue. To be smart is a ticket to prosperity in today’s hyper-meritocracy; to be dull is to be condemned to a lifetime mediocrity.

In the great fragmentation, we’re all weirdos and nerds now, or at least many aspire to be, because those are the people who are getting most of the fame and fortune since the 2008 financial problem (we don’t call it a crisis) and the super-effective bailouts that followed, which set the stage for the rapture of the cognitive elite that, for years earlier had been encumbered by excessively high interest rates.

From The Daily View: We’re All Becoming Weirdos

When the 2008 financial problem struck, and in the years that followed, corporate America, in response to deteriorating balance sheets and falling share prices, culled millions of overpaid, unproductive employees – temping, outsourcing, automating, or simply eliminating many of those jobs. But incomes and job opportunities for coders, quants, mathematicians, and economists – people who produce quantifiable results – have fared much better.

The point is, it’s time to make yourself useful (intellectually) if you want to be relevant and a participant in today’s competitive economy, creative class, and knowledge-based economy and society. Or you can wondering why you’re getting nowhere in life waiting in vain for the crisis that will never come or the social cycle to turn its dial.

[1] Under a reactionary monarchy, only the demonstrably competent would rule, not figureheads. Not sure how succession would work in the event of incompetent heirs.

[2] He made a new twitter account but the page no longer exists. I think he made a promise to delete his new account, which he followed through on.

[3] A possible exception to this is the publishing industry, in which I support the ‘gatekeepers’ in filtering out the unending conveyor belt of crud while rewarding authors who do have demonstrable talent. Although some independent authors are very successful, these tend to be the smarter ones who already have established presences offline and or online. Authors who go the conventional route can make decent careers in writing, whereas most self-published authors make very little.

INTP people rule the world

From Anti-Dem Playboy After Dark

Another possibility is that the ‘Playboy lifestyle’ is no longer ‘cool’, as millennials eschew ostentatious materialism for intellectualism and minimalism. Millennials want to be rich, but prefer saving or investing the money instead of squandering it on positional goods. They want to be like Zuck, Musk, Buffett or Gates, not some washed up playboy who blows all his money on drugs and alimony. These aforementioned individuals exemplify individualism, intelligence, and competence – all traits highly valued in today’s society and economy. In other words, INTP people rule the world, and will likely continue to do so.

It seems like INTP & INTJ people are wired for success in the super-competitive post-2008 economy. In our new era of Social Darwinism 2.0 where coding is the new literacy, they, the INTP & INTJ people, have a biological advantage in an economy and society that increasingly rewards creativity, authenticity, introspectiveness, wealth, financial independence and analytical skill versus the obsolete, old-economy liberal ideal of collectivism, social skills, and equality.

In the past few years, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Tesla stock have surged, along with the QQQ tech index and S&P 500. Web 2.0 valuations keep going up, with Uber, Snapchat, and AirBNB worth $50 billion, $15 billion, and $25 billion, respectively, gains of 200-300% since 2013. Bay Area real estate is up 50-100% since 2012. Who’s getting rich from all of this? INTP people, mostly.

The irony is that people who are the most reticent, introverted are the most sought after, the highest paid – in effect becoming today’s new ‘rock stars‘. Competence, again and again, overrides people skills and extraversion. Warren Buffet, for example, projects the public image of fuddy-duddy, yet everyone can’t get enough of him, and his shareholder meetings are like ‘Woodstock’ as thousands of his ‘fans’ from all over the world descend to Omaha for his wisdom, and choruses in the media sing his praise. Elon Musk’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ was perhaps the most popular in the history of Reddit, getting over 11,000 laudatory comments. Like Buffet, Musk lives in his head, not among the crowds, but the crowds online keeps flocking to him because he’s so brilliant.

In an era of gig jobs and temp work, people are getting paid for the economic value they create, both directly and indirectly. The reason why Uber, Air BNB, and Snapchat are worth so much and their employees are paid so much is because these companies harness ‘network effects’ to create billions of dollars of indirect economic value through the millions of users that use these services. Snapchat doesn’t produce anything, but it’s valuable because it harnesses a network of hundreds of millions of eyeballs that you can put ads in front of. It’s like TV, but even a step further, since Snapchap doesn’t have to make content.

Having a lot of money and being smart is optimal, but being smart (especially in a science field, but economics and philosophy also count) also makes you a valued person in today’s economy, with throngs of ‘digital’ fans and followers, along with karma, links, reputation and other accouterments – digital ‘flare’ – that signify one’s worth and prestige. This is part of the rise of ‘expert culture’ – a culture that rewards being an expert. Carl Segen was among the first, in his hugely popular 1980 Cosmos series, but now we’re seeing this online, with hundreds of smaller ‘Segens’ – popular YouTube channels like Thunderf00t, who mixes science with criticism of feminism. Another is Scott Alexander, a blogger who uses his expert status on psychology and internet subcultures to poke holes at the more radical elements of liberalism to his audience of tens of thousands.

on Reddit just yesterday a ‘TIL’ about Manhattan Project mathematician Richard Hamming got over 5,000 upvotes, landing a spot on the ‘front page’. Not an athlete, actor, or musical artist – but a mathematician. This is further evidence of how STEM ‘culture’, particularly the INTP personality sub-type, is becoming ‘mainstream’. Mathematicians, scientists, and other STEM people are today’s ‘rock stars‘ for millions of young people. The rise of STEM is party related to the post-2103 SJW backlash. Whether it’s stock trading, biotechnology, math, or coding, people in STEM get ahead through individualism, intellectualism, competence, and value-creation – traits that are highly valued in a post-2008 economy – as opposed to connections, collectivism, quotas, and nepotism, all of which characterized the ‘old economy’. Perhaps there is a backlash, both in the economy and in popular culture, against overpaid people who produce little economic value. STEM is seen as an ‘ally’ in the ‘war’ against SJWs, as STEM is empirical and rigorous, with facts and logic overriding leftist emotions and opinions.

Even Martin Shkreli, the son of poor Albanian and Croatian immigrants, is seen a STEM ‘hero’ to many – a self-made American success story who used his intellect (his parents were janitors, so he had no special connections to get ahead) to conquer the drug industry and get rich – until it fell apart. But even in light of these fraud allegations, many are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, arguing that perhaps his good qualities (intellect, ambitiousness, biotech knowledge, and tenacity) are enough to overlook the potential fraud, similar to how Theodore Kaczynski has many ‘fans’ for his writings and mathematical contributions in spite of being a domestic terrorist. But on the other hand, Martin Shkreli’s Reddit AMA went badly over the predictable outrage over the 5,000% price hike of Daraprim, so there are limits to how much slack the public will give its STEM celebrities.

Playboy is pretty much defunct, having filed bankruptcy in 2012. Because Playboy is owned by creditors, Hugh’s net worth is probably zero. The mansion is a facade. Meanwhile, INTP ‘empires’ like Microsoft, Google, Tesla, and Facebook are thriving.

Related: Authenticity and Masculinity In the New Era

How a person with an SAT score of a 1000 writes

An SAT score of 1000 on the post-1995 test is unimpressive, corresponding to an IQ of around 100. Most people who score that low (either on an IQ test or on the SAT) keep it private. According to those celebrity SAT lists you see everywhere, even most actors score higher than that, yet the author is in finance – a field that one would assume is more intellectually rigorous than the performing arts. Weird how that works, and maybe this agrees with my earlier post about the liberals arts possibly being harder than STEM, even though it pays less. *

Since people only brag about high scores, how can we assess everyone else based on public information? One way is through writing samples, but even those can be misleading, however, as some people with above average intelligence will either lazily or deliberately use poor punctuation and sentence structure.

This example is particularly informative, since he posts his SAT score and numerous writing samples that are written to the best of his ability. The author is 35, implying he took the post-1995 version of the SAT, which has a lower ceiling than the pre-1995 version. Unfortunately, we don’t have the breakdown of the score by math and verbal. If the math is substantially higher than the verbal, then maybe the IQ higher than 100, as the math portion of the SAT has a much lower ceiling than the verbal. As his writing is cogent, albeit simple, my guess is the breakdown is 550 math and 450 verbal – or about a 100 IQ. A lot of people may assume a 400-range verbal means semi-literate, but apparently not.

*But how can that be? Isn’t STEM always harder? It depends. My belief is that there are varying ‘ceilings’ depending on career and accomplishments. Math & physics may have the highest ceiling of all, but this is only applicable to a tiny percentage of the population who are working on unsolved problems in the theoretical domain. But I think in comparing your typical engineer vs. your typical author (not Amazon self-publishing, but by a traditional publishing house), I think the author (due to the difficulty of getting published and the necessity of good prose and plot) comes out slightly ahead. At the professional level, there are more people who can do math well than can write well**, which could suggest that professional-level fiction and prose writing is more intellectually demanding than professional-level STEM work. At the sub-professional level (low-paying service sector work, for example), talent in either domain is not needed.

** This is just my hunch, but I suspect there is some truth to it as evidenced by all the complaints about how college graduates can’t write well. Bad teaching? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just hard.

STEM, Immigration, H-1B Visas, and Wages

There is no diversity crisis in tech:

Repeat after me: there is no “diversity crisis” in Silicon Valley. None. In fact, there is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters. Apple has $200 billion in cash reserves and equivalents — and a market valuation of about $630 billion. Amazing. Facebook now garners a billion daily users. This is a nearly unfathomable number. Google is worth nearly $450 billion and has $70 billion in cash on hand.

This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success. Uber is valued at around $50 billion. Companies like Airbnb are remaking travel and lodging. Intel is moving forward into the global Internet of Things market. South Korea’s Samsung just opened a giant R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are working to connect the entire world. Netflix is re-making how we consume entertainment.

Silicon Valley is home to the next phase of the global auto industry. Fintech and biotech are transforming banking and medicine. The success of Silicon Valley is not due to diversity — or to any bias. Rather, to brilliance, hard work, risk taking, big ideas and money.

Want to be part of this? Great! Follow the example of the millions who came before you. Their parents made school a priority. They took math and science classes, and did their homework every night. They practiced ACT tests over and over. They enrolled in good schools and focused on English, Political Science and Humanities.

Okay, that last bit is not true. They took computer programming, engineering, chemistry — hard subjects that demand hard work. They then left their home, their family, their community, and moved to Silicon Valley. They worked hard, staying late night after night. They didn’t blog, they didn’t let their skills go stale, they didn’t blame others when not everything worked out exactly as hoped.
Are you doing all of these? Are you doing any of these? Do them!

This is hilarious to read and also true. Some people insist the economy is weak because of too much wealth inequality or not enough job creation, and here we have Silicon Valley in a wealth-creation boom. If you’re failing to participate post-2008 tech boom, maybe blame low-IQ, majoring in a low-ROI subject, or a lousy work ethic – not discrimination, crony capitalism, or other imagined roadblocks. Not to make this too political, as epitomized by the likes of Sanders, we’re becoming a nation of crybabies looking for excuses and scapegoats for our own failings, while wishing ill upon the successful. We want to believe IQ is not important and that the only way people get ahead is through connections, not competence. People are getting rich for being smart and creating economic value, not by sitting around and whining all day.

We keep hearing about how foreign tech workers are displacing native tech workers and suppressing wages, so I decided to investigate the veracity of these arguments.

A report from Brookings sheds doubt on the belief that foreign tech workers are undercutting wages of American tech workers:

H-1B visa holders earn more than comparable native-born workers. H-1B workers are paid more than U.S. native-born workers with a bachelor’s degree generally ($76,356 versus $67,301 in 2010) and even within the same occupation and industry for workers with similar experience. This suggests that they provide hard-to-find skills.

And from a report, H-1Bs Don’t Replace U.S. Workers:

Furthermore, foreign workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher actually had 4 percent higher median earnings in 2013 than native-born workers, which discredits the idea that foreign workers are“undermining” the wages of Americans.

Also from the report:

If employers were turning to H-1Bs to cut labor costs, we would expect petitions to rise during times when employers are laying off experts in computer and mathematical fields, which include 60 percent of H-1Bs. This classification includes computer and information scientists, computer systems analysts, software and web developers, computer programmers, actuaries, and other similar positions. It excludes positions at tech companies that do not involve mathematics or computer expertise.

Chart 1 compares the unemployment rate in these occupations to the pace of H-1B applications, as measured by the number of months before the cap on visas was reached. If the H-1B opponents’ theory is correct, we would predict that the cap would be reached faster as the unemployment rate increases when companies are looking to cut back on labor costs. But the opposite is true. When companies begin to shed workers, they also decrease their requests for H-1Bs.

The number of H-1B visas has stagnated due the cap which is limited to 65,000, relative to the much more common D1 visa:

Also, the quantity of H-1B visas has been stagnant for over a decade. And STEM jobs are hard to fill, further lending credence to a shortage:

In a statistical analysis of over 50,000 openings, we find that those requiring STEM knowledge take significantly longer to fill, even controlling for requirements for education, experience, training, and managerial knowledge, as well as wage rates and metropolitan area location. The most commonly requested H-1B occupations in each metropolitan area also take longer to fill.

From US News and World Report: Short on STEM Talent

Moreover, many people are economically better off with STEM skills. It’s often noted that college graduates out-earn those with only high school diplomas, and among workers with college degrees, STEM majors earn some of the highest salaries.

Likewise, jobs are more plentiful in STEM fields, which is why the unemployment rates are low for grads with these degrees. According to the Conference Board, there are currently three job vacancies advertised online for every unemployed computer worker; by contrast, there are more than six unemployed construction workers per vacancy.

It pays to be smart. STEM jobs, unlike most blue collar jobs, pay well, have comfortable working conditions, and are impervious to macroeconomic swings. The housing sector was roiled in 2006-2008, resulting in the loss of many construction jobs that have not returned since due to the vast oversupply of housing that remains to this day. A lot of low-IQ but well-paying clerical jobs in the housing/financial sector were lost in 2007-08, which too have not returned. Ditto for the manufacturing sector, which has been in decline since the 60′s:

Then in 2014-2015, the oil/energy sector imploded, resulting in the loss of even more blue collar jobs. A lot of low-IQ but high-paying clerical jobs in the housing/financial sector were lost in 2007-08, which too have not returned. Meanwhile, despite a small overblown hiccup in 2001-03, the quantity and salaries of STEM jobs keep rising, with no obvious headwinds:

High IQ jobs pay more and offer superior job security. Software developers, for instance, saw salaries soar 26 percent over the same period, culminating in an average of $82,000 in 2013, up from $48,000 in 1980, which agrees with the post-2008 theme of competence, IQ, and technical ability being more valued more than social skills.

The Rise of STEM: Wealth and Intellectualism Über Alles

Abstract mathematics, theoretical physics, computer science, and quantitative finance, all of which compose the constellation called ‘STEM’- is cachet of ‘nobility’ in the post-2008 economy, the new ‘cool’ among millions of millennials who aspire for prestigious careers that involve wealth or intellectual recognition, preferably both, as embodied by the likes of Musk, Thiel, and Zuck. Unlike the useless single mom drawing government benefits, or the overpaid corporate cog, people in STEM create economic value through intellect and competence, which is why everyone likes STEM and why people in STEM get rich.

The left hoped OWS, the overblown financial problem, and two terms of Obama would turn an entire generation against the ‘ubermensch‘, and oh how wrong they were as capitalism and wealth creation, whether on Wall St. or Silicon Valley, reign supreme – both tangibly and in the collective psyche of the 20-30 year-old American millennial mind. The left’s vision of egalitarianism snuffed as IQ has become more important than ever and wealth inequity keeps widening. In 2014, the SJWs and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which was supposed to sound the alarm over wealth inequality, both failed as Gamergate dominated the narrative and Piketty’s thesis was later tainted by revelations of data fabrication, to put it gently. The strength of the US dollar, stock market, and treasuries is giving the left, who had hoped for a ‘post-America era‘, the finger. Obama, in 2008 billed by the liberal media as the ‘great orator’, is looking increasingly effete and meek like the uxorious wealth spreader that he is – a kid in an oversized suit – as Putin domineers foreign policy, and Trump – the epitome of masculinity – domineers the 2016 campaign.

For generations – from 50′s all the way to the 90′s – the cool ‘thing’ to be was a rock star with a record that was certified ‘gold’, or maybe an actor or professional athlete. Then, in the 2000′s era, with the ‘information age’ and the post-2008 economy, that changed. Although athletes, actors, and musicians are still popular, a fourth category has been introduced: the tech/intellectual superstar, who may not be as widely known by the general public, but is revered by throngs of ‘groupies’ online on sites like Reddit and 4chan, which with their millions of users are bigger than Woodstock anyway. And once you look at the math involving agents and record labels, the rock stars of yesteryear didn’t keep much of the money they made, whereas today’s tech superstars are getting rich overnight and staying rich. And whereas in the past, success was mostly due to luck, record label connections, and consumer tastes for certain genres of music, the meritocracy rules in the Silicon Valley – results over social skills, the later which sometimes mask incompetence (as is painfully obvious with Obama, who won twice with the help of charisma and the media over his smarter, more experienced opponents).

For example, a month ago an Imgur post of an engineer trying to get though airport security, with the flummoxed security agent trying to make sense of the engineer’s contraption, went hugely viral on Reddit, with thousands of people up-voting and commenting. It got over 11,000 ‘up-votes’, which is about four times as many as a typical viral post. For that week, the unnamed engineer was a ‘rock star’. He could have created a blog, written a book, and maybe gotten Matt Damon to star in the movie adaptation.

The overwhelming success of The Martian is another example of STEM culture becoming mainstream – the story of an astronaut who stays on Mars rather than have to return to the political correctness on Earth. Ok…I made that last part up, but it would have been a better movie if that were the plot.

From high-IQ foreigners coming to America to study STEM, to web 2.0 valuations surging, to high-IQ foreigners working in Silicon Valley tech and buying expensive real estate, to the Silicon Valley engineer embracing MGTOW culture by living in a van, to the continued destruction of the SJW narrative, again and again, the left, who want to turn back the hands of time to simpler era of less technology and more overpaid jobs, are fighting an uphill economic and ideological battle they are losing and cannot win. The story of the San Francisco software developer living in his van went viral everywhere – Reddit, Voat, 4chan, and Yahoo news – because he’s today’s STEM ‘rock star’ going his own way, becoming rich while living a lifestyle of minimalism, in alignment with the millennial mindset of individualism over the collective.

Related:

Taking the ‘Omega’ Pill
Our STEM Nobility
Autism/Asperger’s the New ‘Cool’?

STEM vs. Liberal Arts: Which is Harder?

The essay Who’s the alpha male now, bitches? got me thinking – not about the subject matter of angst-ridden young adults and mass shootings, but the inimitable eloquence of the writing style itself. The precision and skill of how the words were chosen and arranged to make the essay informative yet galvanizing.

So, is STEM easier or harder than the liberal arts? The online opinion seems to skew in favor of STEM being harder, but it would be nice to have an official academic study about this. Another, perhaps related, question is: which subjects are perceived to be harder? For student who found high school easy and got good grades, which subjects are they more likely to major in college, versus c-grade high school students. I imagine students who perform poorly in high school, once in college (assuming they go), will choose subjects they perceive to be easier. If c-grade high school graduates are choosing STEM in collage, and a-grade high school graduates are choosing literature, philosophy, and history, then STEM may be easier. And then you would have to look at the graduation rate and GPA. If c-grade students who major in STEM outperform c-grade students who major in liberal arts, it would further lend credence to liberal arts being harder.

Although the data shows the humanities have a higher GPA than STEM, this does not necessarily prove the humanities are easier:

Major Average GPA
Education 3.36
Foreign Language 3.34
English 3.33
Music 3.30
Religion 3.22
Biology 3.02
Psychology 2.98
Economics 2.95
Engineering 2.90
Math 2.90
Chemistry 2.78

It could be that all the a-grade students are flocking the the humanities, while the c-grade ones go to STEM. The a-grade students, possibly being smarter, get higher grades than the c-grade students.

If SAT scores are a good proxy for high school performance and IQ, we would expect low-scorers to major in ‘easier’ subjects:

Interestingly, literature, social science, and linguistic majors have as high of SAT scores as most STEM majors. Although math and physical sciences rank among the highest, the difference isn’t substantially higher than that of the literature majors. The major ‘liberal arts’ is only four points lower than biology. The study also doesn’t tell us the completion rate, only the choice of major.

It’s also been observed that the verbal sections of both the GMAT, ACT, and SAT are harder than the quantitative sections, with top verbal scores being much rarer than top math scores, although this can be attributed to the verbal sections having a higher ‘ceiling’ than the math sections.

One possibility is that the threshold to become ‘good’ at math is lower than to be ‘good’ at literature and writing. Maybe it’s easier or more attainable for your typical high school graduate to grasp advanced calculus and special relativity than, say, publish an article in the New Yorker.

Perhaps STEM is more inclusive than liberals arts. It seems there is a sort of pretentiousness in liberal arts, especially with literature and the divide between ‘low-brow’ and ‘high-brow’ tastes. Another question is, how do you define ‘hard’ and ‘complexity’; what makes a subject ‘complicated’? Is it the number of things you have to memorize, the quantity of reading, the synthesis of information? STEM may be easier because usually the only thing that matters is the correct answer or outcome, not the ‘prettiness’ of the underlying mathematics. Whether you pass or fail depends on your ability to product correct responses to technical questions, not necessarily elegant responses. The liberal arts, especially writing for publication, requires not only a unique perspective but the ability transcribe your ideas into prose that is grammatically correct and enthralling to the editor and reader. It’s like imagine in math you not only have to produce the correct answer, but are restricted to a certain set of symbols in your derivation, but, on the other hand, some STEM problems are very difficult.

Our STEM Nobility

From Fortune: Here’s why female engineers are posting pictures of themselves on social media

Everyone is obsessed with STEM, particularity with females in STEM. Would Fortune do a cover article about ‘this is what a female hair stylist looks like?’ no.

A STEM degree, particularly in mathematics, physics, computer science, or engineering is the cachet of nobility in our New Economy. Just like the British are deferential to the royal family, online in America everyone talks effusively about STEM. In the post-2008 economy, STEM is the new ‘Rock Star‘ status and Asperger’s/Autism is the new ‘Cool‘. High intelligence in and of itself exudes credibility and authenticity in a world of phonies who get by on good social skills instead of competence.

As evidenced by recent economic trends in income vs. educational attainment, people who use their brains instead of their looks are, by in large, the winners of the New Economy we find ourselves in – a cutthroat economy where productivity and results are more important than ever, where the middle class is being hollowed out, and average is over. Either be exceptional or be on the cutting block. This is because IQ is more important than ever, even people who are otherwise oblivious to HBD know this. Parents know this, which is why they waste so much money on useless DVDs and toys intended to boost their baby’s IQ. No one wants their kid to grow up to be a hair stylist – it means you failed as a parent (even though low IQ preordains many to these unspectacular, low-paying occupations).

Since 2013 or so, we’re also seeing the unexpected bridging of the age-old nerd-jock divide. Up until recently, techies and jocks wanted little to do with each other, and then that all changed with the rise of the Red Pill movement, particularly on Reddit, with STEM being the preferred major for adherents of neo-masculinity, in a nerd-jock alliance against useless liberal arts degrees and political correctness.